Harry Potter: Celebrating 20 Years

“This boy will be famous. There won’t be a child in our world that won’t know his name. There will be books about him, he will be a legend.”
– Minerva McGonagall

Even as I sit here writing this, even knowing I have constructed an entire month long celebration running on my blog, a small part of me cannot get my head around that it has been twenty years since Philosopher’s Stone was first published. Ten years I could comprehend, but twenty? It’s just, mind boggling. Harry Potter has been such a huge part of my life for the past twenty years. I can connect so many moments of my life around these novels and these movies it’s incredible that it has been so long since it first began; it honestly does not feel like it has been 20 years.

I was 9 years old when Philosopher’s Stone was published, and I was in my second year of uni when Deathly Hallows was published in 2007. From ages 9 to 19 Harry Potter was a key part of my life. I have so many memories associated with this series that it’s hard to picture my childhood basically without it.

Even the fact that in the tenth anniversary year (2007) the story was concluded, and now here we are ten years on again and it’s a duplicate celebration, ten years since the series finished, and twenty years since it all began. We can get even more meta when I remind you all that the epilogue of Deathly Hallows also takes place in 2017! (but we can get to that later).

Of course having the movies has added extra milestones and something to look forward to. The final movie came out in 2010 and even that does not feel like it was that long ago. Perhaps it’s because Harry Potter and his wizarding world is so much of our culture now. It is so incredibly popular and so ingrained in society that we’ve never really escaped it. It’s always there in some form, making it feel like it never really ended.

Key memories I have of this series include:

  • Having Philosopher’s Stone read to us in primary school and reading along quietly in my own copy at the same time before being told off for reading along when I should just be listening.
  • Staying up until about 3:30am reading Goblet of Fire under the blankets and trying not to gasp and squeal too loudly at everything that was happening. (I also learnt it is hard to read under covers because it gets quite stuffy, I don’t see the charm)
  • Having to read the latest book as quickly as possible so it could be passed around the family so they could all read it as well.
  • Foolishly thinking it was ok to wait until my birthday for that latest book (released a few weeks earlier) before realising it was torture and stressing over spoilers (this plan lasted only twice).
  • Having intense discussions between classes in high school about theories about Half-Blood Prince and what “Severus, Please ” actually meant. Like, intense discussions.
  • Being told (incorrectly) Professor McGonnegal died in Order of the Phoenix and panicking anytime she did anything.
  • Rereading every book before the next one was released so I was up to date with what had happened.

Over the past twenty years I have reread the series numerous times, I have obsessed over fun facts and theories, enjoyed the myriad of content that it has inspired, had passionate arguments/debates about characters and scenes, and I have fallen in loved every time I open the first page.

I have been lucky enough to go to the Harry Potter Experience in England, I’ve tried Butterbeer which I would drink all day long if I could, and I have gotten my picture taken “running” through platform 9 3/4.  The one thing I am still waiting on is my Hogwarts letter (I would make a very good mature aged student.)

I can only imagine what the next twenty years has in store for the Harry Potter series as new fans discover the books and old fans grow more attached (if that’s even possible). I look forward to the day when it’s hailed as a classic, though I am fairly certain that day has already arrived.

 

Happy 20th Anniversary, Harry Potter.

The world wouldn’t be the same without you.

Pottermore

Pottermore is the official Harry Potter site launched by Rowling in 2012. It began as an interactive site that allowed users to follow each chapter of the books from beginning to end. You also could be placed into a house and were given a wand. Originally it had games and a chance to cast spells and make potions which earned points for your house and contributed to getting the House Cup. It also had a wealth of knowledge that was revealed about Hogwarts, characters, and other aspects of the wizarding world outside of the novels and films. This all changed, however, when the site was relaunched in 2016. Now it’s more like a blog that focuses on Rowling’s writings with feature articles and related news about upcoming movies etc. It’s not like I don’t like getting new information about the wizarding world, but I loved what it was before, though I can see how it would have been hard to maintain.

The new site still allows you to find your Hogwarts house (I’m still in Ravenclaw), get a wand (Spruce wood, phoenix feather core, 10 ¾” in length, slightly Yielding flexibility), and now, find your Patronus (mine’s a St Bernard, thank you for asking). Also, with the addition of the American magic school being revealed you can find out what your Ilvermorny House would be (I would be in Pukwudgie, though I’m not growing to that idea as of yet). If you love learning about the history of characters, more about creatures or locations it’s a good resource. The illustrations are beautiful as well and there are feature articles which may interest you as well as a few quizzes about chapters, books, and characters.

The history of Pottermore is really interesting though, you can read all about how it launched and developed in the links below, it’s quite detailed. There are also entries on the Harry Potter Wiki which is an innumerable source in its own right. As a whole, Pottermore is worth checking out if you’re interested in Harry Potter; even just to get yourself sorted into a house because it is a much better system than using Buzzfeed quizzes. Also, the information on there is as near canon as it’s going to get, it’s straight from Rowling’s quill so it’s a great resource to learn more about the wizarding world and those that reside in it. I didn’t use Pottermore as much after that first couple of years because I didn’t have much time, which I regret because of course, I thought it’d stay the same and would have time to return, but I will keep an eye on this new site, see what else develops on it.

Wikipedia

Pottermore Wiki

Harry Potter Wiki

Movies 6-8: Fun Facts and Differences

This post may contain spoilers if you haven’t seen the films or read the books.

What I love about these final three films is that OotP is the longest book by about 60 000 words, and yet it’s the final book that was made into two films. I’ve chosen to group the final two films together because it is only one book, and Part One was a lot of camping so I think that saves a lot of time in terms of plot.

The Half-Blood Prince

Fun Facts

  • The film was released in the United Kingdom, United States, France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, New Zealand, India, Brazil, Spain and Mexico on 15 July 2008
  • Originally set to be released on 21 November 2008, but was pushed back by eight months
  • The movie is 2 hours 33 minutes long, making it the 3rd longest film in the series.
  • Broke the then-record for biggest midnight showings, making $22.8 million in 3,000 cinemas
  • It was translated into 67 different languages, with a Scots Gaelic version planned for this month.
  • Dame Maggie Smith completed filming this film whilst undergoing radio-therapy as treatment for breast cancer.
  •  Emma Watson considered not returning for the film, but eventually decided that, “the pluses outweighed the minuses,” and could not bear to see anyone else play Hermione.
  •  Timothy Spall plays Wormtail (Peter Pettigrew) for the fourth time, but in both Order of the Phoenix and this film, he does not have a single line of dialogue.
  •  Ron thinks Dumbledore is 150 years old. Dumbledore was actually 115 years old when he died. He was roughly in his fifties when he first met Tom Riddle.
  •  The strange “fluid” in Dumbledore’s Pensive is entirely done with CGI.
  • That highly torturous fluid in the cave that Dumbledore drinks, was really just some milk thinned down with water and then visually “tweaked” by the CGI department.
  •  A giant swing was used to send actors flying across the room for scenes in which Quidditch players fells off their brooms.
  •  A total of 27 owls appear in Half-Blood Prince and all of them came from animal sanctuaries.
  •  The cauldrons  in the Potions classroom are remote control operated. And the knitting needles that knit on their own are also operated by a custom built machine.
  • Over 80 sets were used for this film.
  • Daniel Radcliffe’s least favourite own performance in the series, stating in an interview that he was “just not very good in it”, and calling it “hard to watch”.

Trivia
More Trivia
Extra Trivia
Additional Trivia
Extra Additional Trivia

Changes

  • Opening scene with the British Prime Minister is omitted.
  • The Dursleys do not appear.
  • Horace Slughorn’s appearance in the film differs dramatically from his description in the book. In the book he is extremely fat and bald, with a “walrus-like” moustache. In the film, he is depicted as being only slightly overweight, hair only slightly thinning, with no facial hair.
  • Three new scenes were added into the film that don’t appear in the book: The collapsing Millennium Bridge, Harry flirting with the waitress, and the attack at The Burrow.
  • Harry is only warned not to move by Dumbledore in the tower; in the book he is magically frozen.
  • Dumbledore’s funeral was removed as it was believed it did not fit with the rest of the film.
  •  The climactic battle was removed to avoid repetition with the Deathly Hallows films.

More Changes

 

Deathly Hallows – Part One and Two

Fun Facts

It was originally meant to be one film. But after reading the book, screenwriter Steve Kloves said that he couldn’t make it much shorter than 4–5 hours. So it became two.

Both parts were filmed back-to-back, as if it were one long film.

The world premiere for Deathly Hallows Part One1 was held in Leicester Square in London on 11 November 2010

Deathly Hallows Part One grossed $24 million in North America during its midnight showing, beating the record for the highest midnight gross of the series, previously held by Half Blood Prince, at $22.2 million. This record was again broken with Deathly Hallows Part 2

Filming the “Seven Harrys” scene was so complex, that Daniel Radcliffe counted over ninety takes for just a single shot.

 Part One is the only film not to feature Dame Maggie Smith (Professor Minerva McGonagall) or David Bradley (Argus Filch).

 Linguist expert Dr. Francis Nolan devised the Parseltongue language for the Harry Potter films which feature the serpent speak.

Deathly Hallows Part 2 had its world premiere on 7 July 2011 in Trafalgar Square in London.

At 2 hours and 10 minutes, Part Two is the shortest film in the series.

Part Two is the eighth highest grossing film of all time worldwide.

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione enter Gringotts near the beginning, Hermione has taken Polyjuice Potion to disguise herself as Bellatrix. Before the scene was shot, Emma Watson acted out the scene for Helena Bonham Carter so she would know how to act as if she were Hermione in this situation. So, essentially, this scene is Carter acting like Watson who is acting like Hermione acting like Bellatrix.

Most of the events in Part Two – from the raid on Gringotts to the Battle of Hogwarts – take place over the course of a single day

210,000 coins were made for the scene inside the vault at Gringotts.

The only film in the franchise, where Hermione actually controls a broom.

Director David Yates wanted to get as many actors who have appeared in the franchise back for the final battle scene.

If you watch all 8 Harry Potter films it would be 18 hours and 20 minutes long all together.

Trivia
More Trivia
Even More Trivia
Extra Trivia
Additional Trivia

 

Changes

  • The escape from the Dursley’s is different
  • Harry and Hermione don’t use Polyjuice Potion at Godric’s Hollow
  • Snape never actually witnessed Lily’s death first hand.
  • Peter Pettigrew doesn’t die.
  • Harry doesn’t hide under the cloak after Hagrid brings him back from the forest
  • The invisibility cloak isn’t used nearly as much
  • Harry and Dumbledore use a pensieve in order to look into Voldemort’s past. This is how Harry knows to look for Helga Hufflepuff’s cup in Bellatrix LeStrange’s Gringotts vault, it’s not just a feeling that he has.
  • Voldemort doesn’t disintegrate in the book, he dies like the mortal man he is.
  • Harry destroys the Elder Wand however, in the book he uses it to mend his own wand and returns the Elder Wand back to Dumbledore’s grave. 
  • Harry does not go to the Headmaster’s Office after the battle

 Part One Changes

Part Two Changes

More Changes in Part Two
Further Changes in Part Two
More Changes

Further Changes

To cap things off here’s a general list of differences between the books and the films

Movies 4-5: Fun Facts and Differences

This post may contain spoilers if you haven’t seen the films or read the books.

Next in our movie focus is films 4 and 5, Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix respectively. Again there’s so much I could say about these film but in the spirit of keeping things interesting (and short), I’ve only included a few fun facts and comparisons for the book and film. Once again I’ve included links to the numerous “Things You Didn’t Know About…” sites that keep springing up.

Goblet of Fire

Fun Facts

  • Warner Brothers originally wanted to turn the book into two films.
  • Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort), had to shave his head and armpits for the role. He wore prosthetics to cover his eyebrows, and while his nose was going to be prosthetic, it was decided that it should be digitally removed post filming. This meant filming with coloured spots stuck to his head.
  • It was Warwick Davis’s idea that Professor Flitwick should stage dive during the band’s set.
  • The scene where Hermione, Gabrielle, Ron, and Cho are underwater, the figures are all dummies.
  • Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) wore tracksuit pants under his costume.
  • The elves Dobby and Winky were cut due to time constraints. However, in the first campsite scene, right after Ginny points to something and says “Look!” you can see two House Elves riding on llamas.
  • The only Harry Potter film not to feature Julie Walters.
  • When the contestants enter for the third task, the Beauxbatons girls in the audience are dancing the Macarena.
  • The Patil twins are played by unrelated actresses.
  •  While the rest of the cast got three weeks of dancing practice, Daniel was only able to get in four days. For this reason, they mainly used shots of Harry dancing from the waist up to avoid showing his stumbling feet.
  • This is the first movie to not show the Dursleys. This was omitted from the movie because the actors portraying the Dursleys demanded more money so they were cut.
  • Ray Winstone and Billy Connolly were considered for the role of Mad-Eye Moody.

Trivia
More Trivia
Even More Trivia
Trivia Galore

Changes
A lot of subplot was cut to make it fit one film

  • Hermione’s S.P.E.W. campaign is not included
  • Dumbledore goes from asking Harry calmly if he puts his name in the Goblet of Fire to yelling at him and charging across the room
  • Beauxbatons is made an all girls school, and Durmstrung made an all boys school
  • Ludo Bagman’s role is omitted and his storyline with Fred and George Weasley
  • Colin and Dennis Creevey’s characters are combined into the character Nigel.
  • Parvati and Padma Patil are not in separate houses
  • Bill Weasley, Charlie Weasley, Dobby, Ludo Bagman, Winky, Narcissa Malfoy, and Bertha Jorkins are absent
  • Neville had to tell Harry about Gillyweed not Dobby.
  • Hermione’s dress is pink not periwinkle blue
  • Rita Skeeter is never revealed to be an illegal, unregistered animagus
  • Harry is never seen either receiving or giving away the 1,000 galleons in prize winnings.

 More changes
Even More Changes

Order of the Phoenix

Fun Facts

  • Had the biggest IMAX opening ever, pulling in 1.9 million dollars.
  • Even though this is the longest book it is the 2nd shortest movie.
  • The Black family tree portrait was super authentic. J.K. Rowling actually provided over 70 names for the Black family tree tapestry, along with details of relations between every member.
  • The radish earrings worn by Luna Lovegood were actually made by Evanna Lynch, the actress who played her.
  •  While Tonks’ hair was described as bubble gum pink in the books, it was made purple because the filmmakers felt pink should only be associated with Umbridge.
  • Daniel’s eyes had to be digitally altered in his possession scene because he couldn’t wear contacts.
  • Jason Isaacs, who plays Lucius Malfoy, referred to his wig as his “Paris Hilton wig”.
  • 12 Grimmauld Place was built from scratch because it was cheaper than hiring an actual house.
  • The Ministry of Magic took 22 weeks to build but appears in the film for less than 10 minutes.
  • According to the original script, Kreacher was not intended to be in this film at all. But when Rowling read the script, she more or less insisted on him needing to be there to avoid some serious problems with future films.
  • Many fans were critical of the scene where Harry sees Voldemort at the train station dressed in a Muggle suit, saying it was out of character for Voldemort to do such a thing. Director David Yates and producer David Heyman both defended the scene, though each had different takes on it. Yates explained that it was Voldemort’s way of taunting Harry, that Voldemort could appear in plain sight in a crowd of Muggles who would not realise how dangerous he is. Heyman, on the other hand, said that it’s a figment of Harry’s imagination, symbolising Voldemort taking control of Harry’s mind.
  • James Phelps and Oliver Phelps, who play Fred and George make a cameo appearance in the picture of the original Order of the Phoenix as their deceased uncles, Fabian and Gideon Prewett.

Trivia
More Trivia
Even More Trivia
Extra Trivia

Changes

  • The scene at St Mungo’s, the hospital where Harry and friends run into Neville Longbottom was cut because it required the construction of a new set.
  • Mrs. Weasley’s encounter with a boggart at Grimmauld Place
  • Ron, Hermione and Malfoy becoming prefects
  • Mundungus Fletcher is not included
  • Firenze is never shown teaching Divination
  • Quidditch was never shown or mentioned in the film.
  • Petunia’s howler and her knowledge of Dementors isn’t included
  • Cho takes the blame for Umbridge finding out about the DA. She is given veritaserum by Umbridge, forcing her to tell the truth. In the books, Marietta Edgecombe is the character that reveals willingly the existence of the DA to Umbridge.

 More Changes
Even More Changes
A Few More Changes

Movies 1-3: Fun Facts and Differences

This post may contain spoilers if you haven’t seen the films or read the books.

We can’t talk about the books without looking at the amazing movies as well. Overall the movies are a wonderful representation of the Harry Potter series. I know a lot was changed which obviously can’t be helped, and a lot of scenes were cut and characters were left out (people are still peeved off about the exclusion of Peeves [total pun intention]). There’s so, so, much I could talk about in regards to the films: the actors, the changes, the nice little details and behind the scene stories, but I’ve kept myself restrained. I have included some fun facts, but also linked to more. There are enough “Things You Didn’t Know About Harry Potter” articles going around that I don’t need to become one of them myself. I’ve also tried to keep it as short as possible but it is a little long, sorry about that.

Philosopher’s Stone

Fun Facts

  • The film had its world premiere on 4 November 2001, in London’s Leicester Square, with the cinema arranged to resemble Hogwarts School.
  • Rosie O’Donnell almost could have been Mrs Weasley except Rowling wanted an all British cast. The same goes for Robin Williams who wanted to be Hagrid
  • The Restricted Section scene was filmed in the Duke Humfrey’s building at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. They have very strict rules about not bringing flames into the library. The makers of Harry Potter were the first ever to be allowed to break this rule in hundreds of years.
  • This is the only Harry Potter film that does not feature Mark Williams, who plays Arthur Weasley
  • Despite him being referred to as a great wizard quite a bit throughout, Harry never actually casts a single spell in this movie.
  • Rik Mayall was cast as Peeves the Poltergeist and filmed for three weeks. He was eventually cut from the film.
  • Hermione performing magic on the Hogwarts Express train to fix Harry’s broken glasses was not in the book, but it was added for the film.
  • Dan originally has green contacts and Emma was given false teeth, however Dan’s eyes reacted strongly to the contacts and Emma couldn’t talk clearly with the fake teeth in her mouth.
  • In the script, the flashbacks to Voldemort killing Harry’s parents were written by Rowling herself. The producers knew she was the only one who knew exactly what happened.
  • The floating candles in the Great Hall were created using candle-shaped holders containing oil and burning wicks and suspended from wires that moved up and down on a special effects rig to create the impression that they were floating.
  • Three owls play Hedwig: Gizmo, Ook, and Sprout, but mainly Gizmo.
  • It took the owls six months to learn how to carry the letters at the start of the film.
  • Richard Harris only agreed to take the part of Albus Dumbledore after his eleven-year-old granddaughter threatened never to speak to him again.

Extra Trivia
More Trivia
Even more trivia

Changes
Note: There are obviously a fair few, but these are a key selection

  • Harry’s time at Mrs. Figg’s is not shown
  • The boa constrictor from Brazil in the zoo becomes a Burmese Python
  • The Quidditch pitch is altered from a traditional stadium to an open field circled by spectator towers
  • Peeves’ role is not included in the film, neither is Professor Binns, the History of Magic teacher and various other minor characters.

More changes
Further Changes

 

Chamber of Secrets

Fun Facts

  • The film premiered in the UK on 3 November 2002 and in the United States and Canada on 14 November 2002 before its wide release on 15 November.
  • Fourteen Ford Anglias were wrecked in the filming of the scene where Harry and Ron crashed into the Whomping Willow.
  • Shirley Henderson, who played Moaning Myrtle, is the oldest actress (age 37) to portray a Hogwarts student.
  • Hugh Grant was originally cast as Gilderoy Lockhart but was forced to withdraw at the last moment because of scheduling conflicts.
  • The filmmakers had to build an entire new row of houses as they lost access to the neighbourhood that they originally used to depict the Dursley’s House.
  • All the potions consumed on set were actually soup.
  • Fawkes was so realistic-looking that Richard Harris thought he was a real bird wearing a Phoenix costume.
  • Filming started three days after the release of Philosopher’s Stone. This was to ensure the actors didn’t age too much between films.
  • The hands on the Weasley family’s clock are made out of scissors with photographs stuck into their handles.
  • The second highest grossing film of 2002

Trivia
More Trivia
Even More Trivia
You Guessed It, More Trivia
Oh Look, Trivia
Totally Not More Trivia (but is actually more trivia)

 Changes
A lot of the differences not mentioned I found were mainly slight alterations rather than missing entire scenes

  • The scene where gnomes are removed from the Weasley’s yard wasn’t included
  • Sir Nicholas’ Death Day party was excluded
  • The length of time Harry was locked in his room was reduced
  • In the book, Fred and George try to save Harry from the bludger, not Hermione.
  • We never find out Filch is a squib
  • Professor Lockhart’s Valentine’s Day breakfast never makes it into the film.
  • Professor Binns and Peeves are again excluded.

More changes
Further Changes

Prisoner Of Azkaban

Fun Facts

  • Opened in the United Kingdom on 31 May 2004 and on 4 June 2004 in the United States.
  • Ian McKellen turned down the role of Dumbledore. Having appeared as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, he said, “I had enough trouble living up to one legend. Two would be too much to hope for.” He also stated it would have been inappropriate to take Richard Harris’ role, as the late actor had called McKellen a “dreadful” actor.
  • To make the Knight Bus appear as if it was zipping through traffic at an extremely high speed, the scenes were filmed with the bus driving at normal speed and the rest of the traffic driving at snail’s pace. The film was advanced though the camera at a slower rate than it would eventually advance on screen. When the scene was played back at normal speed, the bus appears to be driving super-fast.
  • Harry Melling had lost so much weight that the role of Dudley was almost recast. Eventually it was decided that Melling would continue to play Dudley and would wear a fat suit to make him look heavier.
  • The symbols under Sirius Black’s picture on the Wanted Poster translate as “more or less human.”
  • When Alfonso Cuarón became Prisoner of Azkaban‘s director, he asked Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint to write essays on their characters. Radcliffe wrote a page, Watson wrote 10, and Grint never managed to hand one in.
  • Cuarón had the idea to have Harry, Ron, and Hermione wear everyday clothes more often than their Hogwarts uniforms in order to show more of the characters’ personalities.
  • Dudley Dursley has no lines. He only laughs at the television, and gives two gasps of surprise.
  • Two Persian red cats were used for the role of Crookshanks: Crackerjack and Pumpkin. The trainers saved the cats’ shed fur, rolled it into balls, and clipped these onto the cats in order to achieve Crookshanks’s mangy appearance.

Trivia
More trivia
Even more trivia

Changes
The complex plot of the book meant a looser adaptation was required of backstory and lesser plot lines

  • Harry uses his wand to read under the covers not a torch (my pet peeve)
  • The in-depth detail about the Marauder’s Map and its creators isn’t explored
  • You never find out how Sirius escaped Azkaban or how he betrayed the Potters
  • Harry received his Firebolt at the end of the film, not at Christmas
  • Many scenes are cut where they’re in class as were the other Quidditch matches
  • Malfoy and co. don’t dress up at Dementers to frighten Harry
  • When Harry and Hermione travel back through time they have to get themselves to leave Hagrid’s hut
  • Harry is not caught by Malfoy at Hogsmeade and interrogated by Snape about the map, instead he is caught at night.
  • The three weeks Harry is at the Leaky Cauldron before starting school aren’t shown

More changes
Further Changes

 

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